In this message, we learn that when we love others the invisible God is made visible.
Alright. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you’re here with us. We want to give a big welcome to our Denton Campus. Will you welcome them with me?
Tell them how grateful we are for you guys and excited that you are here. And again, just a quick reminder, big month here Valley Creek Church, a lot of stuff going on, we’ve got baptisms coming up. For some of you, that’s your next step. We’ve got our live worship recording coming up on May 1st. It’s going to be amazing. And then, next week and I want you all to get this, we have our Equip Gathering which I’d love for you to come and be a part of. Basically, we just want to equip you to take a next step in specific areas of your life like marriage and parenting, finances, hearing the voice of God, leading through conflict, all kinds of different breakout sessions. And at both campuses, we’re just going to gather together and then you can pick which topic you’re interested in. And it’s like two hours and some great practical teaching. And if you remember, that’s our whole vision is to help people take next steps on their journey with Jesus. And I promise you, there’s one of those areas where you need to take a next step and I need to take a next step.
So, check it out on the website. It’s going to be this weekend coming up. I’d love to have you there. Alright. If you’ve got your Bibles, it’s First John chapter 4. First John it’s at the end of your Bible, not John, First John. It’s right at the end of your Bible. And we’re in a series called “Unexpected”. We’re talking about, “Love on display”. And last week, we looked at John 20:21 when Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I now send you.” In other words, Jesus sends us the same way the Father sent him with His full authority and full empowerment. And we said that you are anointed to do the unexpected wherever you go. And so, my hope is that this week is that you felt anointed to do some unexpected things wherever you are in your life. And we’re going to kind of stay in that vein and look at First John chapter 4. And First John is probably one of my favorite books in the Bible because it really encapsulates the heart of God’s love for us. And it’s written by John, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.
He’s at the end of his life, he’s an old man and there’s something about being at the end of your life that gives you a different perspective, a different view. And he’s got this healthy understanding and he’s writing to the church to combat some beliefs they have because they’ve got a false belief about who Jesus is and what it looks like to really follow him. And so, pick it up with me. First John chapter 4, starting in verse 7. It says, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.” This is how God showed his love among us. He sent His one and only son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love. Not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
Few little verses that John writes that are incredibly elegant and incredibly deep and profound. And he basically starts by saying this, “Those who know God best will love people most.” It’s what he says. “Those who know God best will love people most.” If God is love, then whoever knows God the best will love the people around them the most that our love for other people is a reflection of how much we actually know God. And what John is doing for us here in this moment is he is defining maturity. He is defining spiritual maturity because he’s writing to a group of people that have a warped view of what spiritual maturity is. He’s writing to people that think that spiritual maturity is based on how much knowledge you have. Or some people thought maturity was based on what kind of emotional encounters you have. Some people thought spiritual maturity was based on what kind of spiritual gifts that you have. And if you’ve been in church for any period of time, you know these people. You know the conversations. They say things like this. We just need more meat around here, not barbeque. They’re talking about deeper teaching.
You know, we need more deeper teaching or we need more inductive Bible studies where we’re looking at the Greek of every single word. Or we need more emotional encounters. Or we need the freedom to respond to the Holy Spirit however we want, whenever we want. And what John says is no. He says what you need is more love. He says maturity is not how much you know it’s how much you love. In fact if God is love, then all revelation will always lead me towards loving other people. If God is love, then all revelation, all information about Him and all encounters with Him will always lead me towards loving other people. Love was never just meant to be known, it was meant to be lived. And so, he goes on, to then tell us that God demonstrated this love for us by sending Jesus and putting him on the cross, and then he gets the verses 11 and 12, which is where I want to zone in. He says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
John says no one has ever seen God. In other words, God is invisible. We would all agree with that, right? Like, if you’ve seen God, come up after the service and talk to me. I would love to meet you. He says God is invisible. No one has ever seen God but when we love one another, God is put on display for the world to see. In other words, our love makes the invisible God visible to the world. And then he says something profound. He says, when we love one another, God’s love is made complete in us. It’s a huge statement. He says, “God’s love is made complete us.” Why? Because God’s love was never meant to just be received, it was always meant to also be released. And for God’s love to be complete, it means you receive it but you also release it. It’s like two-halves of a heart necklace. You know the heart necklace is, that say best friends, or I love you, right? They stand alone, but when they’re together, they’re made complete.
It’s meant to be received and also meant to be released. And it’s not that God’s love is insufficient, it’s more than sufficient, it’s more than enough but it’s incomplete if it’s not being released through your life because God’s love wasn’t meant to be contained, it’s meant to be released for the world to see. And I don’t know how to explain it to you any other way than basically what John says is there’s something supernatural and spiritual that happens in people’s lives, when we love them, their eyes are open and the invisible God is made visible to them. In other words, we are God’s love on display. I mean, do you remember in John chapter 14, Jesus is getting towards the end of his life and he’s talking to the disciples, and they’re kind of stressed out because he is going to go. And so, they say to Jesus, like, “Jesus, just show us the Father and that will be enough for us,” which is really the cry of all of humanity’s heart. “Show us the Father and that will be enough because if I see Him, then I now will know who I am.” And Jesus looks at the disciples, he says, “Guys, don’t you know me?”
“Even after I’ve been among you such a long time, don’t you know me? If you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” In other words, I am the image of the invisible God. You want to know what God is like, look at me. You want to know how God thinks, look at how I think. You want to know how God acts, look at how I act. You want to know how God behaves, look at how I behave. You want to know what God believes, look at what I believe. I am the image of the invisible God. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. Okay. Well, if Jesus says that as the Father has sent him, so he now sends us, then in a sense, as followers of Jesus, we should be able to say, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the image of Jesus. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen an image or a representation of who Jesus is. You want to know what Jesus is like, look at my life. You want to know how he thinks and acts and believes and moves, look at how I think and act and believe. I mean, we’re the body of Christ. We would all agree that a body is a representation of who that person is.
Yes, right? We’re his body. We’re his ambassadors which means we’re here on his behalf. We’re his representatives. We’re here to represent Jesus to the world around us. We are his love on display and we make the invisible God visible to the world when we love, okay? Now, do you remember being in school, do you remember Show and Tell? You remember Show and Tell? Don’t you wish you can do Show and Tell at work, like, right now, in your life? Wouldn’t it be fun? I mean Show and Tell, my kids are still in the Show and Tell season of life and they love Show and Tell. Whenever it’s that week, whatever letter they’re studying, they get to do Show and Tell. And so, all week at home, they’re thinking about it. They want to find something special, something unique, a treasure that none of the other kids have. And the way Show and Tell goes, if you never did it, is you bring something in and you show it to everybody. And then they get to ask you questions about it and you tell them all about it. And so, in our house, I get the duty of helping our kids figure out what they’re going to bring for Show and Tell.
And I always want to help them find something really cool that, like, nobody else has. And I think the coolest thing we ever sent to school for Show and Tell was last year, Emma was four, and it was letter “W”, and we sent her with the warthog tooth.
Now, can you picture my little four-year-old girl going in and be like, “What did you bring today for letter W?” “I’ve got a warthog tooth.” You know?
The kids are, “What’s a warthog tooth?” “I don’t know but my dad thinks it’s pretty cool. It’s a warthog tooth, you know?” It was letter W. The time we are out of town and it was letter A and grandma and grandpa were in town. And grandma and grandpa sent Trey in for the letter A with his toy AK47.
And so, it’s Texas, right? I mean – and so, we got a little and they’re not from Texas grandma and grandpa. And so, we got a little note home from the teacher. You know, we love that Trey understands the letter “A”, but maybe next time, send him with an apple, you know.
Like, maybe not the best choice here.
But Show and Tell, you bring something, you show it and then you get to tell everybody about it and they ask you questions. Now, imagine if there’s a kid in class and every time it’s his turn, he never brings anything to show, he just tells. He just sits there and says, “Oh, yeah, at my house, we have this. And oh, I have that toy. And in my room, I have this.” He never shows anything, he just tells everything. Nobody would really want to listen to that kid. Okay. Can I tell you that’s how a lot of Christians live our lives? We don’t show, but boy, we want to tell. And we’ve learned how to tell like nobody’s business. I mean, let’s be honest, Christians are good at telling. We put the little fish on our car, we put Bible verses and it’s okay if you do this stuff, just drive with me today. We put Bible verses on Facebook, you know, we like to wear the Christian t-shirts. My favorite is the one that says, “God’s gym, His pain your gain.” Come on that was a good shirt. Do you ever have one of those? I always wanted one, I never got one. But, I mean, we can tell like nobody’s business but we’re called to show.
First Corinthians 4:20, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” It’s not just about telling His power. And the most powerful force in the universe is love. It was love that created the world and it’s love that redeemed the world. And we now put love on display. Or how about First John 3:18 when John says, “Let us not love with words and tongue but with actions and truth.” Let us not just tell the world, let’s show the world. Or how about this one, First Peter 2:11 and 12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans of the world that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may hear your good words and glorify God on the day he visits us.” That’s what it says, right? That they may hear your good words, know that they may see your good deeds. That’s what will lead them to glorify God.
I mean, imagine Jesus. Just think about this. Imagine if you read the gospels and this was the account of the gospels. Jesus shows upon the earth and he comes to preach, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand but he never brings a superior reality. Like he walks around and walks into a crowd of people and says, “I’ve come to give site to the blind.” And there’s three blind men over here, but he doesn’t open their eyes, he just says it. And he turns around and he leaves that town. Or he goes to this town over here. There’s a bunch of sick people and he says I’ve come to heal the sick. There’s a bunch of people with incurable sick diseases and he just looks at them and walks away. Or imagine if he says, I’ve come to bring peace, but he never calms any storms. No one is going to believe anything he has to say. In fact, Jesus even knew it. In John 4:48, he says, “Unless you people see miraculous signs, you will never believe what I tell you.” In other words, Jesus says, unless I show you, you will never believe what I tell you. And if we’re his followers, maybe we need to start understanding that same truth.
Unless we show them, they will never believe what we tell them. The authority to tell comes from the willingness to show. The authority to tell comes from the willingness to show. If you’re not first willing to show, you have no spiritual authority to actually tell. The world is tired of hearing about God’s love, they’re ready to start seeing God’s love. Now, there is a public high school in our city in our area that over the last two years or so has literally been gripped by the spirit of death. It’s been one tragedy after another from suicides to tragedies, to all kinds of different deaths that’s just plagued the schools. Literally, the spirit of death has just gripped it. And over these last two years as every time one of those tragedies has come up, our student ministry team has engaged with the high school. And just been there not to preach, not to tell, just to show, just to come and be the love of God.
Bring compassion, bring comfort. Help in anyway possible for the students, for the faculty, whatever it may look like. And this last season, there was another tragedy, another death at the school. And the school was so rocked by it because it’d been so many that they literally called our student ministry team and said, “We don’t know what else to do, we need your help.” Now, when was the last time a public high school called a church for help? And the reason they’re calling is because for two years, we didn’t try to tell them anything, we showed them everything. And so, all of a sudden, I have this phone call, we don’t know what to do. There’s hope, there’s hopelessness, there’s despair, there’s just death, just everywhere around. We need your help. And so, through a conversation, basically, it got to this point where twice a year, all the faculty get together at that school and they invited us to come. They invited our student ministry team. So, were just going to give you the whole two hours. Can you just come? There’s going to be 200 some faculty there. Will you just come? We just need help. And it’s going to be over lunch.
And so, here’s one of those moments where the church often gets it wrong. We have this invitation to go and be there during their lunch. And the church often would say something like this. Not our church, not you people but the church, right? We’ll just bring brown paper sack lunches or we’ll do a potluck and everybody make something. Or we’ll get $5 pizzas. That’s the cheapest possible to feed everybody. Okay. God never gives us his leftovers, He gives us His best.
And it’s because He gives us His best that our hearts are open to receive. So, because of your generosity through tithes and offerings, we were able to cater in a meal for 200 and some faculty at this high school that is gripped by the spirit of death and show up with the love of God. And they didn’t come and preach. They just brought hope. They show the love of God. And now, the school is calling and saying, because you’ve been showing us, we need you to come and start telling us. Come and now tell us about this Jesus because we need to hear more about it, right?
The authority to tell comes from the willingness to show. People actually want you to tell if you’re first willing to show. And so, the question I would ask you is this: are you showing the love of God? Like, do the neighborhood kids love coming to your house the most because you give out the best snacks?
I’m just saying that’s a great way to show the love of God. Are you making sure that nobody at school eats alone at lunch? Are you willing to pick up other people’s work at the office because you can to help them out? Are you willing to give up your spiritual freedoms and rights for the benefit of somebody else? Are you showing the love of God? Okay. In this whole conversation of putting love on display, it’s all about motive. Motive matters so much more than you and I ever give it credit for. In fact, I think, a lot of times, if we’re honest with ourselves, we do good deeds to make ourselves feel better about us. I think, a lot of times, we do good deeds to relieve our conscience or to somehow contribute to our salvation in a little bit.
So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to push for the next few minutes and I just want you to just listen to what I’m saying and think about motive, okay? Think about the underlying reality. Can I just push for a few minutes?
Sort of. Half of us are okay with the push, the rest of us were not so sure what –show and tell me to push and then I’ll tell you if it’s okay. Okay, I’m just going to push. Here’s what I mean. I think we do good deeds a lot of times for us like here would be an example. It’s amazing how around November and December every year, all of a sudden, Christians are really worried about the poor. November and December shows up and all the sudden, we’re really concerned about poor people like we got to give them something to eat. They need a meal, they need toys, they need, you know, a house, they need, you know, to be celebrated. And all of a sudden, it’s November, December, end of the year, Thanksgiving, Christmas. We’ve had a good year. We are blessed. We realized we haven’t really served other people. Our conscious is pricked. So now, man, we got to do something for the poor. But you understand poor people are poor in April and May.
Homeless people are homeless in July and August. And so, if it’s just about November and December, maybe it’s not really about them, maybe it’s a little bit more about us. There’s a leader in our church and he leads a large restoration rehabilitation ministry in Downtown, Dallas. In this amazing ministry, they take people off the streets, restore them with the gospel, rehabilitate them and then launch them back out into society. And I’ve had conversations with him about this. And he says, it’s amazing how November and December, all of a sudden, their phones starts ringing of the hook and everybody wants to come and serve. And he says which is great because we have lots of places that we need people to serve. But the conversation goes something like this like, “Oh, hey, I want to come and serve.” And they say, “Oh great, here’s the things that we need.” And the person on the phone says, “No, no, no. I don’t want to do that. Here’s what we’d like to do. We’d like to bring our singing group down on Friday between 5:00 and 6:00 and sing a nice song for the people.” And he says, they say back to the person, “Well, do you understand that Friday between 5:00 and 6:00 is the people’s free time, like, they’re not even here on the premises and they really don’t need you to sing to them.
There’s a whole lot of other things that they need. And the person says, “No, no, no. We want to come Friday between 5:00 and 6:00 with our little a cappella quartet and you get everybody together and we’ll come sing them a nice song. And man, we’ll just make them feel really good for this holiday season.” Okay, who’s that about? It’s about what this person wants to give instead of what somebody else actually needs. Love on display is never about what I want to give, it’s always about what someone else actually needs. First Corinthians 10:24, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” You realize, it’s never about what the church wants, it’s always about what the world needs, which means your preference and my preference are irrelevant in the mission of God. Your preference and my preference, it’s irrelevant in the mission of God. As soon as I use the word “mission” and “serve”, it’s no longer about me.
Which means it’s no longer about my preference. I mean, did you ever go to – did you ever drive by a donation center? Sometimes, when I drive by donation centers, I look and it looks like a garbage dump to me sometimes. And I think people realized the garbage man won’t take what I want to get rid off. So I’ll just drop it off at a good will kind of place. Do you know what I’m talking about? Come on, don’t get – back – go down on me now. Don’t leave me out here by myself. You know this is true. And so, I remember when Coleen and I first got married, we were like changing apartments or something. And I – and we were going through stuff and I had this t-shirt. You know, it had pit stains in it and a little hole here. And I said, I think we should donate this.
It’s a true story. And if you know my wife, this is good. So, I think we should donate this. And she looked at me and she said, “Are you serious?” She said, “Look at that thing, would you wear it?” I said, “This is a great shirt. This is a great shirt. No, I wouldn’t wear it anymore but I did for a long time and someone else would really enjoy it.” And she looked at me and she said, “Are you kidding me?”
“Are you kidding me?” She said, “Do you realize that Jesus would never give you a pit-stained t-shirt. Jesus would go and buy you a brand new pack of t-shirts and he would wear the pit stained t-shirt.” Boom!
“So take that.”
Okay, who is that about? Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give us his leftovers and His hand-me-downs? He gives us His best. So, me, giving that away, it’s not really about anybody else, it’s about me feeling good about me. Social justice, social justice is really trendy right now, trying to bring justice to social issues around the world. It’s trendy in the church and it’s trendy with, like, celebrities. It’s like a trendy thing. And again, I think it’s because it makes us feel good about ourselves, which isn’t a bad thing because we were created to serve, so we should feel good when we’re changing the world because that’s what we were created to do. But the question again is what’s the motive?
Social justice issues like human trafficking and digging water wells and buying a pair of shoes for ourselves so that someone else in the third-world country gets a pair. So, my question again is what’s the real motive? Like, am I really concerned about human trafficking or is it just trendy to give a few bucks so I can put it on Facebook that I’m a part of it? Do I really care about people having water or is it just like the t-shirt that you’ve got if you were a part of the organization? If I’m buying a pair of shoes for me and someone else gets one, is that really about them or is it about me? You see, at the end of the day, I think it’s trendy to be interested in social justice but it’s Christ-like to put love on display. And love on display is costly, inconvenient and selfless. And social justice without the gospel is no justice at all. Because we can rescue somebody out of human trafficking, but if we don’t give them the gospel, they still don’t have hope.
I can give someone a drink for the rest of their life but I don’t give them the gospel, they don’t have hope. I mean, think of Jesus. Jesus would take someone out of physical bondage but he’d also set him free from spiritual bondage. Jesus would give someone a drink of water but he’d also give him springs of living water. Jesus would give someone a pair of shoes but he’d also get down on his knees and he would wash their feet with servitude of love. Remember, it’s good deeds and good news. It show and it’s tell. We have to do them together. Love on display is always meant to point people to the resurrected Christ. It’s about motives. And so, if you’re involved in that stuff and you’re listening to – man, that’s great. The church should be leading the way in those things. The question though is what’s our motive? I think sometimes, some of us were so desperate for a cause in our life that we’ll pick up on some of these different human organizations around the world as our cause. Your cause is the kingdom.
And you should bring the kingdom cause to all other causes in life to bring the rule and reign of Jesus wherever you go. We should lead the way but it should be out of a motive of putting love on display not feeling good about ourselves. Does that make sense? Is this okay? Can I give you one more example, because this is kind of our city, this is where we live. There’s a sports team, teenage sports team in our city. I just heard the story the other day. And every year around November and December again, end of the year, there’s the conscience prick. We feel like we need to do something. And so, they make a list of different orphans and they asked the orphans what kind of toy they want for Christmas? And every family adopts one of these orphans and goes and buys them whatever, you know, a Barbie doll, a football, you know, a puzzle, like whatever, art supplies, whatever the kids like. And this year on this team, every kid was picked because they all wanted, you know, a thing, an object except the last kid. The kid at the bottom of the list was a third grade, a little orphan boy. And what he wrote down that he wanted was people.
He wanted people. He wanted someone to come and just spend some time with him, take him out for an ice cream, get to know his story and just love him for a few minutes. He wanted people and nobody picked that little boy. Why? Because it’s inconvenient and costly to actually have to look someone in the eyes who is hurting and broken, and it’s pretty easy to buy a $5, $50, $500 toy, whatever income you have, for someone else because it doesn’t really cost us anything and it kind of makes us feel good about ourselves. It cost Jesus everything to put his love on display for you. It will cost you something to put his love on display for others. Love always goes first. He gives extravagantly and sacrifices willingly. We complete his love. The world sees the invisible God through our love on display.
Does that make sense? We’re the church. We’re the followers of Jesus. We don’t want to make it this little thing that’s about us. We want to do what Jesus would do. We just give people dignity, engaging relationships and meet the highest need that they have in their life, okay? You with me? Denton are you with me? Is this working okay in Denton? Okay. Now, let me hit it one more angle and try to pull it altogether. In Second Corinthians chapter 3, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, a church, a church that is literally, exists in a godless society, full of sexual immorality, idolatry and violence. So, in other words, this could be addressed to the church in Dallas, okay? So, he’s writing to the church and here is what he says. Second Corinthians 3, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
So catch this, he writes to this church in a godless society and he says, you are a letter from Christ, that you are God’s chosen outreach strategy. You are His love on display. He is literally written the letter on your heart and He sent it into the world, which is true of you. You are a letter from Jesus to this world. And there’s a couple of components about a letter when you think about it. First thing is this. A letter has to be written. A letter is written and Jesus is writing a story on your heart right now. His story in your life. And every time you submit and surrender to Jesus, the story gets better. Every time you obey and believe in a line and take a next step, He writes another paragraph of His love and His hope and His healing and His forgiveness and His goodness. But what you and I tend to do, if we’re honest, is we take the pen out of Jesus’ hand because we want to write our own story. And we’re really bad writers. All we write is death, destruction, defeat and despair. All we write about is brokenness.
But the beauty it says, you can never write the story so bad that God can’t redeem it. As soon as you give Him the pen back, He takes it back from you and it’s a story on process. And some of you are here today and you’re hurting, you’re lost, you’re broken. You say, man, my story stinks, my letter is awful. No, no, no. He is about to write a whole new chapter on redemption, restoration, healing and victory. Just hand Him the pen.
Just hand Him the pen. He’s a great writer and the story is always about Him. So, a letter is written but then a letter has to be given, right. Nobody writes a letter and just puts it in a drawer. You write a letter so that you can give it. And on the envelope of the letter of your life, it’s addressed to everyone in your life. The address space on the letter of your life, it’s addressed to everyone around you. Your friends, your family, your coworkers, your boss, your neighbors, the person at the grocery store, it’s written to them and for them. And some of you say well, no, I can’t share my life story with the people around me.
I mean, I’m embarrassed of where I’ve been, what the past looks like, the last chapter or I’m too busy. I can’t do that. Maybe I can throw a toy over to this kid, but I can’t get involved. Okay. Do you understand this letter no longer belongs to you? It was written by Jesus for them, it’s not yours. You actually don’t’ even have the authority anymore to withhold it. In fact, in withholding it, it’s like going up to someone’s mail box to their house and stealing mail out of their mailbox. Has anybody ever stolen your mail? It’s happened to me, you feel really violated. And you think that day when it got stolen like the million dollars sweepstakes check was in there.
You’re convinced of it, you know? Okay, that’s what we do. It’s not your letter, which means, you have to relationally engage with the people around you so that they can read it. And what God does is He writes this letter and then He sends you into the belly of the beast. He sends you into the belly of the beast so people can read the rescue letter that He has written for them.
That’s why you’re in the job that you hate. That’s why you’re in a school, you can’t stand. That’s why you’re in a family that’s imploding all around you because God has written a letter of rescue for them and He wants them to read it through your life. That’s why Jesus doesn’t say, Father, I pray you take them out of the world. He says no. He says, Father, I pray you send them into the world. Into the belly of the beast but protect them. “And greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world. If God is for me, who can’t be against me?” We can never get to this place where we live in this little Christian-insulated bubble. In fact, a lot of times what I think we do on church is we forgo mission for the sake of community. But what we forget is that community thrives in mission. Community is actually forged in mission. In fact, if there is no mission, community always unravels. Like every small group that has no interest in reaching new people, it’s already dying. Every church that doesn’t care about new people, it’s already dying.
Every marriage that has no interest in being part of mission is already pulling apart. Why? Because there’s something about mission that reminds us, it’s not about my needs or your needs, it’s about their needs and it binds us together and creates the best community possible. That’s why guys who go to battle together in actual wars become a band of brothers because the mission forges community. So, if you pursue community at the sake of mission, you’ll never find the very thing you’re even looking for. Pursue mission and you’ll find community, you’ll get both. Okay. The letter is written, the letter is given and then the letter is read. Like it or not, people are reading your life letter. They’re watching how you handle conflict, how you deal with pain, how you respond to failure, what you do with your money, how you treat people. They’re totally in tune. In fact, supernaturally, they’re drawn to your life because the address is addressed to them.
So the spirit of the living God, you say, no, no, people aren’t watching my life. The spirit of the living God is drawing people’s attention to the letter that Jesus has written for them so they’re supernaturally drawn to you. And when your story is about Jesus, they say things to you like this. Why didn’t you go to that party? When we travel as an office, why don’t you go to the club with us? Why are you always so full of joy? Why are you always so generous and kind? And all of a sudden, because you were willing to show, you have the authority to tell the love of God on display. It’s the little girl who chooses to forgive her father for leaving the family. It’s the person that works in a toxic offence environment. That still chooses to come to work every single day and works as if it’s unto the Lord with joy. It’s the person who just went through some tragedy or lost of their own but still has hope in this life. It’s a letter and everybody around them is reading it and they’re being drawn to Jesus.
And I know some of you are sitting here, you’re looking at me, you’re like, “Dude, I don’t think so. I’m just trying to give my own life sorted out. Like, I can’t – now, I’m trying to read somebody else’s letter.” Okay. But Jesus believes in you. I don’t know how else to say it to you, Jesus believes in you. And he knows we will always rise to whatever level that other people believe in us. We will rise to the level with which in we’re trusted. And if you think of how generous Jesus is, it’s kind of overwhelming. He chooses to entrust you with his name, his reputation and his authority. I wouldn’t give me his name, his reputation and his authority, but he does. Even though he knows we’re going to fell. Like he knew Peter would deny him. He knew John and James are going to want to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans like that’s the love of God on display right there. Let’s smoke those puppies, you know, and have a barbeque. He knew they were going to shoo the children away, that they were going to argue over who is going to be the greatest. And after they failed, they handed the pen back to Jesus and he wrote another paragraph, thought them a lesson and the story got even better.
You see, you are, you are our outreach strategy. You are our church’s outreach strategy. You say no, no, no. Our outreach strategy is we have a nice building with a sign on it and we have Easter services and we do like Epic Week. No, that’s called the low hanging fruit. That’s like the drive-bys, okay? You are our outreach strategy that’s sent into the world to go and harvest the hard fruit. And the reason you’re our outreach strategy is because you’re Jesus’ outreach strategy. Jesus never said it was about a building. He never said it was about a billboard, he never said it was about a sign, he never said it was about a program or an event. He said it was about people going out putting his love on display and making the invisible God visible. He has sent you to make his love complete and the world around you. He’s written a rescue letter for the world to read.
You are his outreach strategy which means you’re our outreach strategy. And you say, what’s the Valley Creek all about? How are we going to reach more people? We’re going to reach more people because of the letter he’s written on your life as you allow them to read it. His love gets put on display when we show and then tell. Okay. So, you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you, what’s the Holy Spirit want to say to you today? I realized I pushed on you a little bit, but here’s the beauty. We know who we are in Jesus. We have received his love and now he invites us to release. He invites us to a lifestyle of Show and Tell.
And he’s writing this amazing letter on your life. You think the letter stinks and it’s got tragedy and brokenness and pain in it and Jesus sees it just the opposite. He sees a story of redemption and victory and healing, either that’s already been written or that’s being written out right now. And that’s what the world needs to hear. Not a bunch of perfect people because they can’t relate to that. They need to read a letter of brokenness and pain and loss that now has come forth with redemption and restoration and victory. They need to see kindness and goodness and gentleness in their lives. They need to see someone consistently faithful to just show and show and show with a motive to bring the rule and reign of Jesus, the gospel of hope, into the world around them. That’s how we change the world.
You are our outreach strategy. And in all honesty, that shouldn’t overwhelm you, that should inspire you to say that God believed so much in you that He has such a vision for your life. That He has chosen to send you into some hard and dark places that others may read a letter of rescue. And so, Lord Jesus, I just pray that today, we would choose to hand you the pen. If we’ve take it out of your hand, may we give it back to you and may you write an amazing story in our lives. And may we have the courage and the faith to show the love of God wherever we go. May we put you on display that the world would see the invisible God through our love. Thank you Jesus for the way that you have loved us and may that inspire us to go and do the unexpected for the world around us. We love you Jesus. In your name we pray, amen. Amen.